Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Home of the Year 2014: Best New Build

Homeowners Gino and Mali Torriero bring to life a modern, green-conscious design and open floor plan to accommodate their young family.



/ photos by denmarsh and Mali Torriero /

 

Gino and Mali Torriero’s vision for their home incorporated green elements to make the design functional and beautiful. “It’s a beautiful, clean, contemporary design with excellent use of daylight and captured views,” says Home of the Year judge Stephen Lee, adding that the house is “on the cutting edge of green design.”

Gino Torriero is a builder, and his wife Mali is an architect. The combination works well when it comes to designing homes — for themselves as well as others.

“We like working together,” says Mali. “We really complement each other because he’s really good with design, but when it comes to putting things together I can help.”

“We like the same style,” her husband adds.



 

They began construction of their family’s most recent home, nestled in the woods of Cecil Township, last summer and completed it by Christmas. Mali, who owns and operates Luca Construction and Design out of their home, designed the modern space with floor-to-ceiling glass windows in nearly every room. Gino’s commercial construction company, Nello Construction of Canonsburg, built the home at a cost of $850,000.

Before moving in, the couple and their sons, Nello, 4, and Luca, 7, lived a mile away in another home they designed and built. Although the family had been there for only about four years, Mali says she soon got the itch for a new design.

“We keep saying we’re going to stay in [one home] because we love it,” she says, although that plan never seems to stick for long because she and her husband have so many ideas and are eager to experiment with them.



 

Their last home, also a modern design, sold in a matter of weeks, making it easy for the Torrieros to ready themselves for a new build and a move.

In their most recent endeavor, they wanted to incorporate plenty of open space to accommodate a growing and active family, as well as many smaller details that reflect their preferences. Mali doesn’t like clutter, so all of the kitchen cabinets are flush-panel. The boys’ playroom has lots of cubby space for toys.



 

“It’s nice because they have their own space,” says Mali. “We’re finding [that] with children, their needs change and our needs change, which is another nice thing about an open plan.”

The children even have a rare space of their own: As a Christmas present, Gino built an indoor ice-skating rink in the back of the family’s lower garage.



 

Kitchen appliances are built into the IKEA cabinetry, which has been augmented with walnut door fronts from California-based Semihandmade. The couple says they love appliances and often choose them before a build. Their kitchen includes ample counter space to accommodate their love for entertaining.

A large balcony, which sits off to the side of the living room, is accessible only from the inside of the house, providing a vantage point for Mali to watch as the boys play in the yard.

“It’s set very beautifully on the property,” Home of the Year judge Louis J. Talotta says of the home. “The environment was very pleasant.”



 

Many of the home’s features also reflect Mali’s concern for preserving the environment and its resources.

Polished concrete floors on the main level heat up on sunny days and stay warm into the evening. The white EPDM rubber roof reflects sunlight, which keeps the home cool in the summer. All plumbing fixtures are low-flow, and the family uses a greywater system, which recycles rain water for reuse.

“It takes all the rain water from the roof and [directs it] to the toilets and laundry,” says Gino.



 

Windows on the main level are designed to face opposite one another, allowing prevailing breezes to flow through and cool the atmosphere inside. Lee, another of the Home of the Year judges, noted the “excellent use of daylight” that illuminates open spaces.

“Some things just make sense,” says Mali. “There are little things like that that people don’t realize you can fit into your design. . . A lot of it is just good design practice.”

Natural light — also an important “green” feature — is admitted to almost all interior spaces, including the laundry room situated in the center of the upper level, which has skylights.

“I can work in here without turning a light on,” says Mali.



 

Insulated concrete form walls, which conserve energy by sustaining interior temperature and keeping air leaks to a minimum, make up the majority of the home’s exterior. The outer surface is covered with hand-burnt cedar siding, which acts as a rainscreen and keeps moisture under control.

“It’s a really beautiful and technically proficient use of a wood-clad rainscreen,” says Lee.

The couple made sure they didn’t cut down many trees, and their driveway sits on a logging path that already existed.

“We like natural materials and just taking the time to design how we live,” says Mali. “I do that for all my clients.”



 

Installing the home’s greywater system required considerable attention to detail to ensure the right pipes went to the right places, but otherwise construction posed no major challenges, Mali says.

“Communication is a huge key factor in that,” she says. “Both Gino and I were out here every day, all the time, just making sure things were getting done the way we needed them to.”



 

In addition to being functional, the home’s modern design also is beautiful. One can’t-miss feature in the living room is the ethanol gas fireplace that rises from the floor to the ceiling. It’s visible through the entryway, framed by the 5-by-11-foot steel-and-glass front door that pivots on a center joint, rather than swinging to open and close.

Inside, the 4,500-square-foot home has five bedrooms: The master bedroom, two for the boys (although they decided they wanted to share bunk beds and moved into one) and two guest/nanny rooms, each with their own bathroom, on the lower level.



 

The master bedroom has two closets and large windows on both sides of the room. The walnut ceiling extends seamlessly to one wall, enhancing the room’s cozy feel. Mali’s office on the upper level opens to another balcony overlooking the horse farm across the road, and the couple’s bathroom has a small patio as well.

The property spans 10 acres — so if the Torrieros ever decide to build again, the new construction may be very close.

“I feel blessed to get to do what I do,” says Mali. “I love helping clients feel happy with their spaces.”

“And I love to build, so it’s great to be able to do it for ourselves,” says Gino. 
 

Watch This



 

Vendors:

Architect: Luca Construction and Design
Contractor: Nello Construction
Electrician: McMurray Electric, Inc.
Plumber: VW Plumbing and Excavating, LLC
HVAC: Diesel’s Heating And Air Inc.
Flooring and painting: Don Greer’s Fashion Floors
Garage doors: Thomas V. Giel Corp.
Landscaping: 4-Seasons Landscape
Asphalt driveway: T.A. Robinson Asphalt Paving, Inc.
Steel railings and ornamental steel: TC Stein Industries, LLC
Concrete ICF walls: TEK Construction Services, LLC
Greywater system: Stark Environmental, LLC



Next: Best Renovation

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.

It’s Road Repaving Season in Pittsburgh. Is Your Street on the List?

The City of Pittsburgh has finalized its street paving plan for 2018. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Three Rivers Champion: James S. Perry

Perry combined his love for athletics and volunteerism to create a youth athletic association that at its height provided organized softball and baseball to more than 350 boys and girls.

Three Rivers Art Festival Brings Music and New Art For 59th Summer

Point State Park, Gateway Center and sites across the Cultural District will host free, world-class art and events during this year’s 10-day festival.

Sound of Silence: Century III to be Sold at Sheriff's Sale

The nearly 40-year-old mall encounters foreclosure once again. Will this sale be the end of the line?

Pittsburgh Riverlife President & CEO Vivien Li Resigns

Li is returning to Boston to be with family members who are in declining health.

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Comments

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Soju in Garfield

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

Comments

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

New Chefs Coming to Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley will rotate its third class of chef/owners this June … but this time there’s a twist.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Comments

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Places to People Watch in Pittsburgh

A coffee shop, an iconic landmark, an airport and beyond — these are the best places to practice the art of people watching.

Comments


Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

Comments

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

Smallman Galley Goes 3D With Its New Cocktail Menu

The bar team at the Strip District restaurant incubator continues its flights of fancy with Flashback Flavors.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Comments

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

Penguins Seeking 3-Peat With The Swagger of a Champion

The power play, star power and goaltending are among the primary weapons the Penguins have at their disposal in their quest for another championship. But so, too, is an unshakable belief they can hoist Lord Stanley's Cup three times in a row.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Comments

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

Despite The Rock, Rampage Is a Wild Misfire

A review of "Rampage," plus an update on the former Friends of the Hollywood Theater and other local movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.

Comments

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

How Lucky Socks Played a Key Role in Couple’s Wedding

A pair of puffin socks played a big role in this Pittsburgh couple’s relationship — and, in a surprise move by their pastor, their wedding.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

Toll Gate Revival Gearing Up for New Location, New Experience

The vintage décor and reclaimed materials business owned by Seth Hunter will open in a larger Lawrenceville warehouse next month.

Comments

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Take a Sneak Peek at Our 2018 Ultimate House

Tours of Empire on Liberty, a one-time furniture and carpet warehouse in Bloomfield turned into a mixed-use structure, take place this month. The tour includes a look at the penthouse and two condos.

Comments